Adam Balen blog – Fertility 2017 conference

Today (5 January) marks the start of the 10th joint conference of the UK Fertility Societies: the Association of Clinical Embryologists, the British Fertility Society and the Society for Reproduction & Fertility.


The world of fertility and reproductive medicine is a very exciting one and is constantly evolving.

From the latest developments in mitochondrial donation to debates around IVF funding and the benefits of so called ‘add on’ treatments, it is never far from the headlines.


Fertility 2017 in Edinburgh is the largest conference yet ( and includes world-renowned speakers on a wide range of topics such as fertility preservation, gender transition and social challenges of infertility. It brings together all healthcare professionals in the field and is a truly multi-disciplinary event.


There is a particular focus on the ovary with plenary sessions on developmental and environmental impacts on the ovary, oocytes, and ovarian function/dysfunction.


Highlights for me will be the presentation by Professor Bart Fauser, from the Netherlands who will be discussing ovarian stimulation for infertility treatment. He is a world leader in reproductive medicine and has had a profound influence on modern clinical practice, training and inspiring a generation of researchers and new leaders in the field.


His research has focused on human ovarian function, the pathology of PCOS and premature ovarian insufficiency (failure).


There will also be updates from the BFS, ACE, SFR and a nursing update.


My presentation will be focusing on polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a far reaching condition with a number of reproductive and general health implications. I will introduce the recently published 2016 WHO guideline on infertility in PCOS, of which I am the senior author.


I will discuss the condition, how the symptoms can have a profound impact on women’s psychological wellbeing, the impact obesity has on it, in particular on infertility and management of the condition including lifestyle modification and therapies to induce ovulation.


During the conference we are also running a schools engagement programme on Friday 6 January for local sixth formers on the work that we do. One of the aims is to encourage young people to engage with our field and find out about developing a career in reproductive medicine, in different roles including as a nurse, a scientist, a counsellor, and a doctor.


The BFS has had an extremely busy 2016 and is proud of its two new special interest groups which are rapidly growing momentum. One focuses on the importance of good quality fertility education and the other is looking at fertility preservation. More information can be found here:


We have also commented on the latest developments in mitochondrial donation, fertility add on treatments and the evidence behind some of the treatments, maternal age and IVF funding and provision.


I look forward to seeing everyone in Edinburgh and having a successful conference and a busy 2017.